[Before I launch into today’s post, I wanted to thank everyone for their kind wishes for poor, accident-prone Elsie! Our Number One* Girl is doing much better, thanks–still limping a little, but infinitely less than that first scary evening. While her gait has improved, her mood hasn’t quite, as she has to stay behind with boring Mum every morning while Dad and Chaser go romp in the park. But one more week, and she’ll be on the walking trail again, too. 🙂 ]
Remember when you were a kid and you yearned to have the same toys (or clothes, or packed lunches) that all of your friends had? And in an effort to teach you deferred gratification, your parents would respond to your imploring by saying, “And if Susie’s parents let her jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, would you want to, too?” In our house, it was different. If one of my sisters or I requested something that all of our friends already had, my parents’ perfunctory response was, “NO.” (My Dad’s idea of deferred gratification was “deferred until you can afford to pay for it yourself.” Hmm. May explain why I started babysitting at the ripe old age of eleven).
Since I could never cajole my parents into getting me what I wanted anyway, I developed a determination to stand apart from my friends and covet less popular items. I couldn’t very well not like The Monkees, of course (you couldn’t be a kid in the 60s and not like them), so I worshipped Mickey instead of Davy (totally radical, I know). Like all my friends, I bought (with my babysitting money) the sought-after designer jeans–you know the ones, that proclaimed their exclusivity loudly and clearly with a playing-card sized label just above the fanny cheek–and then I boldly cut off the label (can you imagine? I was so rebellious that way.).
In university, I inevitably fell for the slightly oddball character, someone who, let’s imagine, had been born to a French hooker in Sudbury, had been orphaned at age 12, had raised their younger sister on their own, had worked as a miner and was now studying to be a customs officer. Oh, wait. That actually was my first boyfriend. Later on, I fell for the boyish charms and rapier wit of Rocker Guy (he of the black leather pants). And let’s not forget the HH, the human synthesis of artist genius and science geek, man of few words (and most of those requiring a dictionary to understand), reluctant dog dad turned canine caretaker extraordinaire, and simultaneously the smartest, funniest, and most eccentric human being I’ve ever met.
The food-blog world has its own trends, too. For a while there, kale chips were (or maybe still are!) all the rage. There was a time when I felt as if faux tuna salad was on almost every blog I read. Or how about the now-ubiquitous cake pops? And where would we be, tell me, without almond butter-laced porridge? (One of my favorite trends, though not about food per se, was the “blog meme.” When I was tagged for the “25 Random Things About Me” meme, I got carried away and wrote 101 things. As I mentioned at the time, I guess that will take care of the meme for a while!).
Well, when I saw Mihl’s recipe for Yeasted Zucchini Pie with Herbed Pepita Cream Cheese Filling [original no longer available on her blog], my ten year-old self was resurrected and I immediately thought, “I want that, too! Yum!!” Clearly, with its hunter green shellac and creamy alabaster interior, zucchini is the hipster veg on the culinary scene for August, 2010. And the ingenious mix of ingredients in Mihl’s distinctive filling fulfilled my inner desire for creative departure from the norm.
Since the crust was yeast-based, I knew immediately that I couldn’t make it as originally presented. However, I had seen a quiche a while back with a shredded potato crust and thought that would pair brilliantly with the herby filling.
After preparing the crust, I discovered that I was out of firm tofu, so used MoriNu as the stand-in (just to be different, I suppose). It worked beautifully, resulting in a slightly creamy, slightly grainy filling with a subtly sour undertone, like ricotta or cottage cheese. The inclusion of basil worked beautifully with the ground pepitas. And while I loved the trendy design formed by the zucchini slices atop the pie, I think that next time, I’ll simply chop the zucchini and fold it into the cheesy mixture before baking, both for convenience and for a more varied texture.
The finished pie reminded me of savory cottage cheese pies my mother used to make–rustic, hearty, and reminscent of late afternoons in the country. Paired with a simple Caesar salad, it made a pleasing meal as the HH and I sat at the kitchen table bathed in incandescent glow of late summer, shimmering interstices of sunlight peeking through the shutters.
“Well, it’s a bit unusual, but it’s good,” the HH remarked. Takes one to know one, I thought–and just kept on eating.
* in the sense of, “the one that preceded Number Two (Number Two being Chaser) and not in the sense of, “the one we like the best.” Of course I could never favor one of my Girls over the other–duh!
Zucchini Pie with Potato Crust (ACD Stage 2 and beyond)
2 pounds (900 g) red-skinned potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 Tbsp (30 ml) finely ground flax meal
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chickpea flour
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable broth or stock
1/2 cup (60 g) pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
2 cloves garlic
3 green onions, cut in chunks
1/3 cup (15 g) lightly packed chopped fresh basil
1 package (12 oz or 375 g) extra firm silken tofu (such as MoriNu)
6 Tbsp (90 ml) vegetable broth or stock
1 Tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt
1 tsp (5 ml) granulated onion or onion powder
1/4-1/2 tsp (1-2.5 ml) smoked paprika, to your taste
2 tsp (10 ml) light miso
2 tsp (10 ml) dijon mustard (for ACD stage one, use 1 tsp / 5 ml mustard powder)
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp (15 ml) chickpea or garfava flour
Pepper, to taste
2 medium zucchini, washed, trimmed and sliced
Olive oil, if desired
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line a 10 inch (25.5 cm) tart pan with parchment and spray sides, or spray with nonstick spray.
Prepare the crust: place potato chunks in boiling water and boil just until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow to cool completely, then grate the potatoes and place in a large bowl.
To the bowl, add the flax, chickpea flour,salt and broth and mix well with your hands. Using the back of a rubber spatula or a 1/3 cup (80 ml) measuring cup, press the potato mixture evenly into the bottom and up sides of prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the top is dry. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350F (180C).
Meanwhile, make the filling: In the bowl of a food processor, blend the pumpkin seeds, garlic, green onion and basil until you have a paste. Add remaining filling ingredients except for zucchini and olive oil and process again until smooth. If desired, roughly chop the zucchini and fold into the filling at this point. Pour over the crust and smooth the top.
If using zucchini slices, arrange them over the filling in a decorative fashion. If desired, brush with olive oil.
Bake in preheated 350F (180C) oven 50-60 minutes, rotating the pie about halfway through, until the crust is browned and the zucchini has begun to brown. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings. May be frozen.
Suitable for: ACD All stages; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, nut free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using those links, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.
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